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We've got messages down to a science.

We've got messages down to a science.

App

Less is More.

Keep messages short and to the point.

Instructors should strive to write short messages. The most effective messages average 40 words for green messages, 52 words for yellow messages, and 62 words for red messages. 1

40 words for green messages, 52 words for yellow messages, and 62 words for red messages
Birds of a Feather...

Tell students you're in this together.

Highly effective messages use the words "we" and "you," while highly ineffective messages refer to the instructor as "I" and never use the word "we." In short, the you/we language leaves students feeling capable and empowered, while the instructor-centered language (I) leaves students feeling as though their final grade in the course is beyond their control. 2

Highly effective messages use the words we and you,
Take Action.

Provide specific steps for improvement.

Explicit feedback that includes direct recommended actions (e.g., be sure to compare your exams with the key on the website) is far more effective and useful for students than general statements (e.g., you need to spend more time on the assignments). 2

action image of a man running
Don't be a Threat.

Use constructive advice to encourage change.

When students perceive feedback as threatening (e.g., you will fail this course) without information about how to improve their situation (e.g., you will fail this course unless you start turning in assignments on time), it is wholly ineffective. 2

Use constructive advice to encourage change

References

  1. Arnold, K., Campbell, J. P., & Pistilli, M. D. (2012). Signals at Purdue: Impacting learning through analytic technology. Paper presented at EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.
  2. Gettings, P. E., Waters, J., Selzer King, A., Tanes, Z., & Pistilli, M. D. (2013). Message testing and self-efficacy in Course Signals: Formative evaluation to identify effective communication strategies. Paper presented at the Southern States Communication Association Annual Conference, Louisville, KY.

Resources

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  • Arnold, K., Campbell, J. P., & Pistilli, M. D. (2012). Signals at Purdue: Impacting learning through analytic technology. Paper presented at EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.
  • Bjorklund, S. A., Parente, J. M., & Sathianathan, D. (2004). Effects of faculty interaction and feedback on gains in student skills. Journal of Engineering Education, 93, 153-160.
  • Tanes, Z., & Gettings, P. (2012). The role of computer mediated instructional message quality on perceived message effects in an academic analytics intervention. Paper presented at the International Communication Association annual conference, London, England.
  • Hartley, J., & Chesworth, K. (2000). Qualitative and quantitative methods in research on essay writing: no one way. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 24, 15-24.
  • Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 77, No. 1, 2007, pp. 81-112. doi:10.3102/003465430298487.
  • Lizzio, A., & Wilson, K. (2008). Feedback on assessment: Students' perceptions of quality and effectiveness. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33,263-275.
  • Rowe, A. (2011). The personal dimension in teaching: Why students value feedback. International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 25, Issue 4, 2011, pp. 343-60. doi:10.1108/09513541111136630.
  • Tanes, Z., Arnold, K. E., Selzer King, A., & Remnet, M. A. (2011). Using Signals for appropriate feedback: Perceptions and practices. Computers & Education, 57, 2414-2422.
  • Yorke, M., & Longden, B. (2006). The vital first year. Academy Exchange, 4, 16-17.